Gary Bautell

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Gary Bautell
An older man with salt-and-pepper hair and a mustache stands smiling in a radio station. He is wearing a burgundy sweater.
Bautell in 2010
ResidenceWiesbaden, Hesse
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationRadio broadcaster
Years active1962–present
EmployerAmerican Forces Network
Home townBay City, Michigan
Board member ofFederation of German-American Clubs

Gary Bautell is an American military radio broadcaster living in Germany. He broadcasts for the American Forces Network (AFN), where he has worked since 1962. Having worked in Germany for over 50 years, Bautell has become involved in promoting German–American relations. Since 2010, he has served as president of the Federation of German-American Clubs.


A native of Bay City, Michigan and alumnus of Michigan State University, Bautell joined the American Forces Network in November 1962, when he held the rank of private in the United States Army. He had previously been stationed in Germany while working as an Army engineer, and re-enlisted after working as a DJ in Houghton Lake, Michigan. He initially worked at AFN headquarters in Hoechst Castle, Frankfurt.[1] He is now AFN Europe's news director.[2]

Bautell initially worked for AFN as a DJ, before transitioning to news broadcasts. In this capacity, he has interviewed every German chancellor from Willy Brandt to Angela Merkel, several US Secretaries of Defense, and Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Due to the popularity of AFN programs among American military personnel as well as German civilians, his voice is widely recognized in Germany.[1] In addition to Frankfurt, Bautell has also worked at AFN stations in Stuttgart and Wiesbaden; he currently lives in Wiesbaden, where he manages the city's AFN station.[3]

His work has been recognized as influencing German popular culture, especially though the introduction of elements in American popular culture. For the first few decades of Bautell's broadcasting, German radio played "boring" music, such as folk music. Though broadcasting for American military personnel, Bautell and AFN introduced (West) German listeners to American artists such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, and Jimi Hendrix.[4] His programs also included swing and jazz music, which had been banned under the Nazis.[5]


  1. ^ a b Smith, George A. (13 December 2012). "You may not know him, but you've probably heard him". United States Army. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  2. ^ Dougherty, Kevin (29 October 2004). "Silence in Frankfurt: AFN fades to black, moves to Mannheim". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Gary Bautell". AFN Wiesbaden. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  4. ^ Perske, Jörn (13 July 2013). "Akustische Frischzellenkur für Deutsche". Nordwest-Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  5. ^ Perske, Jörn (13 July 2013). "70 Jahre AFN: Rock 'n' Roll für Germany". Nordwest-Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 14 May 2014.